A Study on the Development of Environment-Friendly Ag-SnO2 Electric Contact Materials through a Powder Metallurgy
It is generally known that Ag-CdO electric contact material excels others in characteristics. Thus, the contact material has been widely used, regardless of current strength. However, in a view point of environment, the advanced electric contact material without environmental load element such as cadmium has to be developed. Extensive studies have been carried out on Ag-SnO2 electric contact material as a substitute of Ag-CdO contact materials. In the manufacturing process of Ag-SnO2 electric contact material, it can be mentioned that typical internal oxidation process is not suitable to produce Ag-SnO2 electric contact material because the Sn located around surface may interrupt oxidation of Sn in the middle of material. Therefore, in the present study, powder metallurgy including compaction and sintering is introduced to solve the incomplete oxidation problems in manufacturing process of Ag-SnO2 electrical contact material. The formation of the blends was manufactured by wet blending of powders of Ag and SnO2. The quantity of SnO2 powder was 15wt.%, with intent to optimize the powdering process for the minute powder of which diameter is less than 5μ m. Particle size and grain distribution of Ag powder and SnO2 powder by powder metallurgy were measured by image analyzer. In order to estimate the properties of specimen tested with a variation of mixed time, the micro-hardness measurement was carried out. The Ag-SnO2-based contact material, which was produced through this study, was actually set in an electric switchgear of which working voltage is 462V and current is between 25 and 40A, for the purpose of testing its performance. As the result, it excelled the existing Ag-CdO-based contact materials in terminal-temperature ascent and main contact resistance.
T. Chandra, K. Tsuzaki, M. Militzer , C. Ravindran
H. Cho et al., "A Study on the Development of Environment-Friendly Ag-SnO2 Electric Contact Materials through a Powder Metallurgy", Materials Science Forum, Vols. 539-543, pp. 2761-2766, 2007